Sunday, February 8, 2009

You Said You'd Never Forget Part I

For the last few weeks, I have been tossing around different ideas for a Napoleon post. I have been listening to a pod cast about his life for the last couple months, but I have been a sparse attendee, catching pieces of his life in stretched-out spurts. There is so much to his life and it is so spread out that it is difficult to put down something interesting that is both coherent and worthwhile. I mean, the man was a genius but he did so many things, it is hard to keep them organized in my brain. Then I went on tour and sort of lost all of those ideas.

While in Florida, we stopped at a Barnes and Nobles. I was snooping around some nonfiction books, trying to find some good creative nonfiction, but nothing was grabbing my attention. So I stumbled up the escalator to the Social Sciences/ Culture section. I dropped to my knees in disgust of what awful looking books were there. While on the ground, I saw two words on the spine of a book that immediately engulfed my entire being: 9/11 Contradictions. That’s right. I am referring to David Ray Griffin’s open letter to Congress and to the press. This book, 9/11 Contradictions, is not a conspiracy theory book. Some of my friends might recall when I got home from tour this past May and I stayed up all night watching conspiracy theory videos on you-tubes. Many of these videos involved 9/11, and the oddities that occurred on that infamous day. Since then, and after I listened to the audio book, Hubris, the circumstances of September 11 have been super interesting to me.

David Ray Griffin is not a conspiracy theorist. His book is just what the title suggests: a record of the contradictions that exist between the official 9/11 Commission Report and the hundreds of different sources that existed before the report came out and that still exist today. He doesn’t draw any conclusions from the information he gives. Instead, he simply states the contradictions, backing them up with facts and explaining both sides and then asks Congress and the press to look deeper into why these contradictions exist and which version is the truth. Brilliant.

I am about 120 pages into the book, and so far I am utterly fascinated by the ignorance, arrogance, and sheer lack of honesty of the 9/11 Commission and its ridiculous report. Neither I nor Griffin is accusing the Commission of lying. But there are so many things that the Commission overlooked when compiling its data. One of the biggest pieces of information that was completely ignored was the testimony of Norman Mineta, the Secretary of Transportation. Keep in mind Mineta, in order to have this job, was a cabinet member, probably appointed by Bush. So he would have no motive to tarnish the Bush administration or its claims about what happened on that day. I would like to investigate Mineta a little more and see if there would be any reasons for him to want to disagree. I say this because his testimony differs so greatly from the Commission Report that the two radically different sequence of events could have happened that day. Not only that, but this testimony by Mineta was given to the Commission for its report. . . And it was completely ignored and not mentioned when the report was published.

It bothers me immensely that so much debate relies on one man’s testimony. But Griffin discusses different testimonies, articles, and news programs that back up Mineta’s account. The 9/11 Commission Report, though, is also backed up by other resources. So, it is very difficult for me to say that Mineta is telling the truth and the Bush administration is lying. I think is obvious that the Bush administration is trying to hide something, and they kind of dig their own grave by being overly suspicious. Another man gave an account that backs up Mineta’s testimony, and he was also mostly ignored. Richard Clarke put out a book about the events of that day of September 11 just before the Commission Report came out. What about these men tells me that I should believe their accounts instead of the official one? Well, for one, the Commission Report, the official story of 9/11, is filled with so many holes that it makes anyone want to believe in someone else. But I really want to find out more about these men before I put any stock into their stories.

My skepticism aside, Mineta tells an incredibly compelling and interesting story about what happened that day. The first warning signs of contradiction we see is when Dick Cheney shows up in the underground bunker beneath the White House. Official reports say that Cheney did not arrive until right around or after the Pentagon was struck, which was about 9:58. Mineta, however, as well as some other accounts, places Cheney there as early as 9:10. In fact, before the report came out, it was widely believed and accepted that Cheney had been down there that early. But the report said he didn’t arrive until just before 10:00. That is quite a difference! Why is this discrepancy important? It is important because if Cheney were there, he would be in charge of the Presidential Emergency Operation Center. Remember, Bush was in Florida sitting with his ding dong in his hand in some elementary school. Mineta’s testimony tells of an extremely bizarre encounter of Cheney that, if it is true, places Cheney in the underground bunker at at least 9:25, nearly a half-an-hour prior to the official time. In Mineta’s story, a young man, presumably a secret service man, approaches Cheney and tells him an airplane is heading toward Washington and is about 80 miles out. He then asks, “Do the orders still stand?” Cheney says yes. This occurs three times, each time the plane getting closer and closer. Each time Cheney says, yes, the orders still stand.

First of all, how do we know this conversation even occurred? Officially, Cheney was still somewhere else in the White House. But let’s say for a moment that Mineta is an honorable and honest man. The Commission Report says that the military had notice on only Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the WTC. The report says that there was no notice for the other three planes, the plane that hit the South Tower, Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, and Flight 93 that was downed in Pennsylvania. By the time Cheney would have had this encounter, the first two planes had already hit the WTC. If this conversation did happen, then Cheney would have known about one of these two hijackings long before the crashes. Why wouldn’t he contact the military? If he was referencing Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, there would have been plenty of time to get fighter jets in the air to shoot down the airplane (which is, in fact, protocol). And if this conversation did happen, what orders would they be talking about? Protocol was to shoot down hijacked planes that were suspicious of being used weapons. The orders from Cheney still stood, and yet Flight 77 still crashed into the Pentagon. Could the orders have been to not shoot? Is that why the young man continued to ask, because it wasn’t protocol? And what if it was Flight 93? The report still says that the military had no advanced notice of that flight.

As you can see by a simple discussion of what time Dick Cheney arrived in a room, so many questions are raised that really affect the outcome of that day. This is just the beginning. It is extremely frustrating to me because the Bush administration looks incredibly suspicious, and up until now, I did not suspect foul play. My take on September 11 is as follows:

I do not believe that our government planned or executed or caused the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I believe they are just that--terrorist attacks. But, I think because of the holes in 9/11 Commission Report and because of the retracted and changed testimonies and statements of Cheney, Bush, and others that our government knew full well of the events that took place and had time to respond accordingly and they did not. They turned their heads and let these atrocities take the lives of hundreds of Americans. Why would they do that? The answer is pretty obvious. Remember earlier in 1991 when Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, and many more hawks from the Republican army had their angry little hands in Iraq? Oh yes. Unfinished business.
As I stated in an earlier post, these hardliners really wanted to pin Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War with weapons of mass destruction charges and to get him out of power. But they didn’t have all the pieces they needed. After they left, it came out that he did indeed have biological weapons. So Bush leaves, Clinton comes in for 8 years but doesn’t bite. Bush Jr. comes home to the White House and Cheney and his handsome bullies are waiting, literally salivating, chomping at the bit, for a chance to get into Iraq and finish what was started. But they needed something huge to turn the page in their favor. Bam. September 11 knocks the American public off its feet. We are scared and we need help. In steps Dick Cheney, who fluffs up already faulty information about Iraq, and we’re back in just under two years.

Do I think our government caused 9/11? No. Do I think they turned a blind eye and allowed the events to occur as they did? You bet. Do I think Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld should be tried and punished for their actions? Yes. Do I think Bush is a terrible man? No, I think Cheney was pulling his dick most of the time. Pun intended.

There are so many things to discuss about this book by Griffin, so this will be Part I. Part II will come before too long and will most likely deal with the question of when the military was contacted or was it at all. In the mean time, I have a lot to think about. I want more than anything for the truth to come to light and for the criminals of this tragedy to be punished accordingly, but I don’t know what I can do. I have been thinking about writing my Congressman and asking him to look deeper into these questions because so much innocent blood has been shed between 9/11 and the war in Iraq and the war on terror, and I want it to end. Also, I am just really curious as to what really happened.


Marc said...

Very interesting stuff. I'm putting 9/11 Contradictions on hold at the library. you definitely peaked my interest the last time we spoke. We'll have some good discussion next time at crunchy mgnugets.

Maturin42 said...

I urge you to look more closely at the makeup and the functioning of the Commission. Look at Philip Zelikow, the Executive Director of the Commission and his gatekeeper role not just in determining what went into the Report, but even what the committee got to see. Have you heard that he had completed an outline of the Report before the Commission even convened?

Zelikow was about as much an insider of the administration as you could find. He wrote the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive war, and one of his academic specialities was in the "creation and maintenance of public myths", defined as stories, true or not, that are generally believed in society and that determine many things about how that society acts.

I maintain that we are currently defined by the fact that we have allowed the most serious crime committed against this nation to remain essentially uninvestigated for 7 years. The Commission started with ground rules that basically required unanimity, that ruled out 'finger pointing' and their starting point was the official myth that sprang up even before the dust settled in NY and DC. Their instructions to one sub-group were to "Describe how the terrorists did it." Not to determine who did it.

So keep digging. You can't do better than David Ray Griffin as a guide through this minefield.